On the afternoon of Thursday, August 19th the Sacramento Zoo’s emergency plan was enacted seamlessly and efficiently as the first radio call announced “a vehicle has crashed through the Zoo’s back gate followed by two police cars.” At 3:05 pm, three vehicle theft suspects were arrested by Sacramento Police after they fled the mangled vehicle and tried to elude police by hiding in the Zoo.
The Sacramento Zoo staff practices emergency drills throughout the year and organizes monthly safety meetings. The priorities during an emergency are: safety of the public, safety of zoo personnel, safety of the animals, and safety of the facilities/environment. It is due to the preparedness of the staff that Thursday’s emergency was handled professionally and competently.
After the first radio call was heard with police sirens erupting in the background, Zoo staff went into action securing visitors indoors or beyond the Zoo’s perimeter. Animal care staff secured animal buildings and directed police throughout the Zoo.
The Sacramento Police department accomplished a quick capture of the three men, while at the same time quickly communicating with Zoo personnel. The Sacramento Zoo is thankful to the officers who arrived on scene in immense numbers and ensured the safety of visitors, staff and animals. Thursday’s successful outcome is a testament to the service our Police department provides as well as the preparedness of the Sacramento Zoo’s emergency procedures.
During the incident, one staff person was unfortunately bit by a Police canine as a suspect ran past him; he was taken to the hospital for stitches. The day after, the Zoo staff is back to work, caring for the animals and the Zoo is open to the community.